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Black Hand (DC Comics) from the Who's Who

Black Hand

(William Hand)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Black Hand is a very, very Silver Age  Green Lantern villain. He appeared in 1964, and made frequent returns ever since.

This profile is a collage between modernised Mayfair stats (the Green Lantern sourcebook was hard to find back then), unstructured memories, and a biography from a Green Lantern fan website in case it disappeared (which it did). It also stops in 1998, thus missing on a lot of subsequent developments (such as Darkest Night).

But heh, it’s still useful.


Background

  • Real Name: William Hand.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Peter, David, Joseph (brothers).
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 167 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


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Powers and Abilities

While Hand possesses no true super-powers, he is blessed with a photographic memory. Thus, he is able to recall every item recorded in a book he has spent the bulk of his life compiling. This book contains the solution to any possible situation a criminal could confront.

A talented technician, Hand has also built a device capable of absorbing radiation residue. It is specifically tuned the radiation of Green Lantern’s power ring, drawn from objects upon which Green Lantern has used his power ring energy. Hand is then able to use this energy himself, directing it through a rod-like mechanism he carries in his hand.

Hand is not a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Yet his power rod and his scientific expertise make him a foe to be reckoned with.


History

William Hand was one of the renowned Hand family of Coastville, a suburb of Coast City, California. His was a successful family, and in time William came to loath them. He set out to be different from his brothers by starting on a life of crime.


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His criminal career was methodical, and everything William Hand learned was written in a book. Through the years, he came up with every answer to every situation a criminal could get into. The knowledge served him well. With his photographic memory of the book, he managed to escape the police on more than one occasion.

As his career progressed, Hand designed a costume and named himself “Black Hand”, an inside joke as he was the “black sheep” of the Hand family.

In brightest day

He realized he would one day come into conflict with Coast City’s protector, Green Lantern. Hand prepared for that day as he did for any other – he relied on the wisdom of clichés. Thus, he felt he had to “fight fire with fire” to beat Green Lantern. Black Hand created a device to absorb residual energy from Green Lantern’s power beam.

When turned on full force, the device would banish Green Lantern to another dimension. According to Black Hand’s calculations, after his foe was banished, Hand would be able to draw upon the ring’s power and the emerald crusader’s tremendous power of concentration.

As Hal Jordan, Green Lantern confided in his friend Tom Kalmaku. The ring wielder had been trying to find Black Hand for weeks, but he wouldn’t have to look far. Black Hand contacted Green Lantern through the power ring, daring the hero to a showdown in Coast City.

I’m split on this

Arriving on the corner of Market and Main, Green Lantern was surprised to find half his body was disappearing. He froze Black Hand’s device before the villain could complete the disappearance.

Black Hand now had half of Green Lantern’s power. He used it at a gala dinner honoring his successful brothers in Coastville. William Hand revealed his criminal identity to his brothers, and took their place at the dinner. Coastville would pay for ignoring him.

Green Lantern returned to battle Black Hand. He startled the villain by creating a mirror image of his missing half, which Black Hand believed was trapped in the other dimension. In the momentary confusion, the emerald warrior defeated his foe. He used the villain’s device to return his missing half.

Perfect crime, part 1

Weeks later, Black Hand escaped from jail, eluding Green Lantern. He planned to commit the perfect crime, leaving no clues. Black Hand even planned to hide the theft itself. He knew he could not avoid Green Lantern forever so he prepared for the next battle.

Black Hand (DC Comics) (Green Lantern villain) flying triumphant

Black Hand committed two thefts, the first was the famous “Dona Maria” painting, the second was the “Greek Athlete” sculpture. Everyone viewing the Dona Maria saw the painting, everyone except Hal Jordan.

After a thorough medical checkup, Jordan knew there was nothing wrong with his powers of perception. The test pilot accompanied Carol Ferris to the Modern Art Gallery where the same phenomenon occurred. Jordan returned to the gallery as Green Lantern.

He ordered his power ring to show him why he could not see the sculpture, and learned it had been taken. A subtle radiation was creating an illusion, a radiation similar to power ring energy. Jordan’s ring created a flow of protective energy that cancelled the illusion-casting radiation.

Jordan correctly surmised that Black Hand was involved in the theft, based on the criminal’s previous use of power ring energy.

Perfect crime, part 2

The power ring tracked Black Hand to a rare book store, the site of the third theft. Green Lantern apprehended the criminal, and flew him to the local jail. He was startled when the felon disappeared into thin air. Black Hand had created a duplicate of himself from his “power-light.”

Furthermore, he had absorbed more residual green energy from the area of his “battle” with Green Lantern. From a cliff overlooking Coast City, Black Hand blanketed the metropolis with purloined energy. The power-light caused people to see Green Lantern as Black Hand.

The confused ring wielder was quickly arrested, as the police believed he was Black Hand. In jail, Green Lantern saw a reflection of himself, appearing as Black Hand. He was ready to break out when his ring was about to run out of power.

After a quick message to Tom Kalmaku, Jordan’s friend brought the invisible power battery to “Black Hand”. A simple recharge allowed Green Lantern to resume his identity.

The two foes met at the bank, the latest stop on Black Hand’s crime spree. A simultaneous blast from the power ring and the power rod pulled the weapons from both their hands. Using his fists instead, Black Hand was still no match for the hero. He was thrown in prison and stripped of his weaponry.

One word: plastics (part 1)

Hand’s release was arranged by a group of entrepreneurs. They offered him a piece of a project called “Piper’s Dell”. It was a factory town built of plastic some 30 feet below sea level in the Pacific Ocean. The group wanted Black Hand to run their experiment in brainwashing through the use of a chemical spray.

Piper’s Dell manufactured “the Kaluta”, a plastic device worn as decoration that sprays perfume in the wearers nose. Workers at Piper’s Dell were brought in by high wages and the offer of free housing and a variety of fringe benefits. But they were subtly controlled by their employers. After a while, ambition was stripped from the workers to make them perfect employees.

Knowing from his book that Green Lantern was involved with Carol Ferris, Black Hand posed as “Wilbur Palm”, a doctor on Piper’s Dell. “Palm” was to help cure a strange paralysis that had affected Carol’s legs.

One word: plastics (part 2)

Black Hand planted bombs around the sea wall of Piper’s Dell to draw Green Lantern into a trap. Once he had rescued the factory town, Green Lantern was treated as a hero. He was given a “kaluta” by “Dr. Palm” which affected his concentration.

The emerald crusader tried to leave the island but could not summon the willpower. But before he was captured, Green Lantern sent his power ring to Green Arrow (Oliver Queen).

The villain revealed his plan to the captive Green Lantern. Meanwhile, others circulated around Piper’s Dell, convincing the drugged workers that Green Lantern was their enemy. Black Hand let Green Lantern and Carol Ferris free to face the drugged crowds. If not for the arrival of Green Arrow with the recharged power ring, Ferris and Jordan would have been killed.

Back in action as Green Lantern, Hal encased Black Hand in plastic until the arrival of law enforcement authorities.

I feel safe in Central City (part 1)

Black Hand was soon out of jail and plotting a new scheme. After days of following Green Lantern and absorbing power ring energy, the criminal was ready to leave Coast City for a new locale, Central City, home of the Flash (Barry Allen). Posing as Green Lantern, Black Hand got close enough to the Flash to secretly isolate his protective aura and lock into its energy frequency.

Black Hand used his power-light to open a channel to the aura and subtly steal it away. But despite the great power Black Hand could absorb from Green Lantern’s emerald energy, he was limited by the ring’s vulnerability to yellow. Thus, by combining molecules of the Flash’s protective aura with the power ring energy, Black Hand sought to formulate an invincible energy mixture.

The smug villain challenged the Flash in Central City, goading him into using super speed. The loss of his aura doomed the Flash to a fiery death as the tremendous heat of air friction burned him away.

In reality, the Flash escaped Black Hand’s death trap. He had individually vibrated and compressed all of his molecules into the costume compartment of his ring. But without his aura and costume, Barry Allen had to run slower than usual to avoid burning up from the air friction. Though he had considerable power at his disposal, Black Hand was disturbed by the Flash’s survival.

I feel safe in Central City (part 2)

A power-light bank robbery brought the Flash into battle once more. Black Hand used his mixture of energies to create an impenetrable force field around himself. The Flash’s superspeed punches had no effect, except to burn the Scarlet Speedster.

Black Hand followed the Flash through Central City, to make sure his enemy died a fiery death from air-friction. Their fight continued into the Centro Dome, an arena that had been modified to simulate the vacuum of the moon’s surface.

Enveloped by his force field, Black Hand could not tell that there was no air in the dome. In a vacuum there is no friction, so the Flash could travel full speed without risk of disaster. Black Hand could not understand why the speedster had not died. Tired of the battle, Black Hand used his power light to create a death beam that would follow the Flash.

The Scarlet Speedster led the beam right back to Black Hand where it knocked the villain unconscious. Black Hand could no longer supply the willpower to maintain the aura. It was then a simple matter for the Flash to will his superspeed aura to return. The Central City Police took Black Hand into custody.

Into gold, part 1

The cliché quoting criminal languished in a jail cell for months before he was contacted by Goldface. The golden-armored foe of Green Lantern had set a plan into motion which required Black Hand’s assistance.

Goldface had bribed or manipulated a judge and substituted a number of prison officials to create a death trap for Green Lantern. In the end, Black Hand would be freed and Green Lantern would die.

Green Lantern was investigating a link between the death of the Tattooed Man and Goldface when he and his old enemy came to blows once more. The emerald crusader believed he had defeated Goldface but found things were not as they seemed. Goldface had Green Lantern arrested for breaking and entering, and for assault.

Though he did not protest the charges, Green Lantern would not surrender his power ring. He ordered the ring to present itself to Thomas Kalmaku a few hours after his arrest. The emerald gladiator found he was the cell mate of Black Hand. Though he was in prison, the cliché quoting criminal had been given his power rod and costume.

Into gold, part 2

Black Hand was not the only felon wishing Green Lantern dead. Goldface’s minions released the prisoners and a riot broke out. Armed with crude weapons, the prisoners would have killed Green Lantern but for the intervention of Black Hand. He did not want his enemy to die too easily.

Miles away, Kalmaku had found the power battery and recharged the ring. It returned to Green Lantern’s finger, renewing his spirit. The rioting prisoners were stopped with an emerald hand. Black Hand’s power rod was crushed in an emerald vise.

The attorney of Carol Ferris worked to free Green Lantern from prison. While the sentencing judge was discovered to have taken a bribe, he would not reveal who had paid him. Black Hand remained in prison for a little while longer.

The Corps

Black Hand’s next run-in with the emerald light did not involve his regular foe, Black Hand instead went up against the new Green Lantern Corps of Earth. Five Green Lanterns meant more energy for the villain’s power rod. Hal Jordan and Arisia were later ambushed by Black Hand. Arisia’s inexperience with the power stealing villain led to their defeat.

Black Hand left the pair of powerless Green Lanterns trapped in an abandoned mine shaft. Meanwhile, he returned to battle the remainder the Corps. The other Green Lanterns were forced to withdraw as Black Hand stole their power as well.

He later drew the ring wielders out by terrorising the crowds at Los Angeles’ Angel Stadium . Kilowog was sent in to combat their foe. The Green Lantern of Bolovax Vik did not need his power ring to fight Black Hand, as his massive strength equalled the energy at Black Hand’s disposal. The villain quickly told the Corps the location of Jordan and Arisia.

Times Square (part 1)

Some time later, William Hand retired from the life of a super-villain. He started going to therapy. According to his therapist, Marsha, his constant humiliation at the hands of super-heroes had given him “hero-phobia”.

Hand opened a small business. Unfortunately, that business was an adult theatre in New York City’s Times Square. He was especially worried when Guy Gardner started a crusade to clean up Times Square by tearing down buildings which were allegedly being used for illicit activities.

As fate would have it, Gardner unknowingly chose Black Hand’s theatre for a date with fellow Justice Leaguer Ice. Without his therapist to guide him, he once more donned the costume of Black Hand and set out to face Gardner. But the fearsome power rod Black Hand used against the Green Lantern Corps fizzled out. Gardner and Ice simply walked away, unimpressed by the reborn super-villain.

Upset by the humiliation, Black Hand ran after the pair, grabbing a gun from one of his employees. A bullet grazed Gardner’s head, igniting the hero’s anger. He launched into Black Hand, finally leaving the unconscious villain on a city rooftop.

Times Square (part 2)

Black Hand soon returned to the life of a criminal in Times Square, this time getting involved in vice. Once more, his operation attracted the unwanted attention of Guy Gardner. Though the arrival of a Green Lantern may have meant the end of Black Hand’s activities, Gardner did not have a power ring. He had been forced to resign from the Green Lantern Corps mere hours before.

Black Hand’s gang noticed this. Thus, they were able to knock Gardner out with a well placed strike to the back of his head.

Black Hand thought he had heard the last of Guy Gardner, but he was wrong. Guy Gardner came back in force. Armed with automatic weapons and a stockpile of ammunition Gardner blasted through Black Hand’s operation. That left the cliché-quoting criminal at a loss for words.

Misty business (part 1)

More recently, Black Hand was hired by a foreign power to build a military device. To complete his work, Hand needed additional technology belonging to the government. Despite his lengthy criminal records, Hand did not want to add treason to that list. Black Hand saw the opportunity to convince someone to steal the technology for him.

He arranged the kidnapping of the son of the current Mist (Nash). From there he blackmailed her into working for him in exchange for her son’s life. She brought the technology to Black Hand, but the villains were threatened by the surprise arrival of Captain (Mary) Marvel.

They escaped to one of Hand’s hideouts in Kerrvile. Hand, now devoid of his gang, found himself at the Mist’s command. Threatened with numerous bullets and other grievous bodily damage, Hand revealed the location of the Mist’s son. But the Mist still planned to kill him.

Misty business (part 2)

Hand tried to escape, but that was made impossible by the presence of Captain Marvel. She and the Mist had made a deal to help defeat Hand and get back the Mist’s son. Fortunately for Hand, Captain Marvel was there make sure the Mist would live up to their deal and not kill Hand.

Black Hand was defeated and taken into custody. It remains to be seen if the Mist will seek revenge on a later date.


Description

See illustration.


Personality

Hand grew up despising his wealthy upper-class relatives. He vowed to drag the Hand family’s name through the mud. Consequently, his crimes are always spectacular and ingenious. They are guaranteed to draw the requisite publicity.

Although he has no qualms about benefiting from his criminal activities, it is difficult to imagine Hand setting out to deliberately hurt anyone. One possible exception is his hated relatives.

At times, Hand’s plans border on delusions of grandeur. at such points, he begins to see himself as the leader of a vast criminal empire. But he never seems to be able to remain interested in such an undertaking for long. He usually returns to his solo career very quickly.

Hand is fixated upon old maxims and clichés. During combat, he constantly spouts them forth. This habit is contagious. Sometimes the heroes he’s fighting soon start spewing out some phrases of their own.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Black Hand

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill
Int: 09 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 019 HP: 060

Powers:
Recall: 15

Skills:
Gadgetry: 06, Scientist: 06, Vehicles (land): 04

Advantages:
Scholar (crime, old maxims and clichés), Stroke of Genius (Power Rod).

Connections:
Underworld (High).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward flamboyant crimes, MPI (obsessive compulsive about his foes).

Equipment:
Power Rod [BODY 06, Energy absorption (Green Lantern energy): 20, Force manipulation: 10, Omni-Power: 12, Power reserve (Force manipulation): 14, Limitation :

  • Energy absorption feeds Power Reserve.
  • Power Reserve and Force manipulation drop to 0 after 8 Phases of Force Manipulation use without absorption of Green Lantern energy.
  • Omni-Power can only be used with a number of APs equal to half the current APs of Force Manipulation (as enhanced by Power Reserve) (-2)].

The Power Rod

Black Hand’s Power Rod allows him to absorb the green energy projected by a Green Lantern’s ring and thrown it back at him.

Whenever he’s within 1 AP of a Green Lantern using Force Manipulation, or an object on which Force Manipulation was used within a month or so, Black Hand can use his Rod’s Energy Absorption against the APs of Force Manipulation used as AV/EV and OV/RV. The RAPs (if any) feed his Power Reserve.

The Rod can use almost all of the possibilities of the green energy, and thus has Omni-Power like the GL rings.


Black Hand’s book

While Hand gains little benefit from his own book (he knows what’s inside), a lesser criminal would probably find this sum of Hand’s knowledge extremely useful.

The book’s stats are [BODY 02 /INT/ 07 /WIL/ 07, Limitation : /INT/ and /WIL/ only when committing a crime]. You have to own the book (or have 14+ APs of Recall to commit it to memory) to benefit from it.

Compiled By Sébastien Andrivet (using the GL Sourcebook, Who’s Who and the GLC site ).

Helper(s): Sean MacDonald, Danielle Mendus.

Source of Character: GL comics (DCU).

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